Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Don't Try This At Home!

Asian Jasmine used as groundcover
Asian Jasmine (Trachelospermum asiaticum) is one of those plants that gardeners have a love/hate relationship with.  On the one hand, this plant is a much-used groundcover in the South (zones 7 to 9) which will grow so thick weeds do not have a chance.  And isn't that the purpose of a groundcover?  Evergreen, this plant will grow to 6 to 12 inches above the ground in a solid mass.  Not particular, it thrives in either sun or shade.  It sounds like the perfect groundcover, right?  Read on!

Asian Jasmine neatly trimmed

Do you want to know the truth about this plant?  Asian Jasmine is horribly invasive.  It sends out runners that will cover everything.  And I mean everything!  I have seen this plant take over entire bushes, walls, benches, trees, parts of houses, - you name it - if left untended.  It will eat the entire garden if left to its own devices, and I've heard lots of horror stories.  I believe every one of them.  Told by flashlight around a circle, those tales can be downright scary.  In broad daylight, the horrifying sight of a neglected garden completely devoured by this beast is worse than any tale of a bogeyman, and will bring a gardener to their knees.

Asian Jasmine escaping

So, if you plan on using Asian Jasmine for a groundcover, be forewarned that you will need to treat it like a toddler: you can't leave it alone, or the outcome will probably be a diasaster.

And still more escaping

I was well aware of this plant's tendencies toward invasiveness, so I planted mine with hesitation.  And I surrounded it with concrete.  And still I must trim it.  Not just once, not twice, but several times a year. (Weekly would be better, and probably required as it matures.)  So, while it is very good at what it does, it is not easy care.  Definitely not a good choice for the lazy gardener.

And even more.....escaping

So, try this at home - if you dare.  But if you don't want your garden to be eaten by a green monster, be prepared for quite a bit of maintenance.


  1. I am always on the look out for another evergreen groundcover to fill my many bare spots. My clay soil always leads me to believe that nothing would be invasive in it. I like the look of this g-cover but looks like it doesn't survive to zone 6. Thanks for posting.

  2. ONG - I have some of those bare spots with hard packed clay like you talk about. I haven't found the perfect ground cover - yet. I'm surprised anything will kill Asian Jasmine, but obviously it doesn't like sustained cold. Thanks for commenting.

  3. You mentioned both the plus and negative in saying 'is this not the purpose of groundcovers'. I have cotoneaster doing the same thing. I can start cuttings and blanket all of Niagara Falls with just one clipping per season. And mine is contained no less, but it is really determined for its escape.

  4. Sounds like my neighbor's morning glory (sigh)... Thanks for the warning!

  5. Thank you for commenting on my blog. I'm wondering how you found me?

    Don't get me started on invasives! In MD we have bitterweet and mutifloral rose. The Bradford pear tree that so many lansdscapers planted has now populated all the road cloverleafs. There's a thorny bush whose name escapes me that's all through our woods. Now we have invasive insects: the stink bug!

    Good luck taming your asian jasmine!

  6. I've been mainly using the evergreen sedums and thyme for my groundcovers. They seem to be working well here.
    Goldenray Yorkies

  7. I definitively will not plant it! Thanks for the warning!
    I am already busy enough to battle my neighbors morning glory, as beautiful as the flowers are, I just don't it to be growing in my yard!

  8. GWGT - You're right. They wouldn't be any good if they didn't do their job well. I love the look of the low growing cotoneasters, didn't realize they were so dauntless. They must love your climate.

    Marha - yes, morning glory is another that draws you in then you realize you should have planted it. We did that one year. We learned our lesson.

    Marcia - Hi! I found you through Obsessiveneuroticgardener's blog. We've always had stinkbugs - didn't know they were spreading their territory. The fire ant is the worst invasive bug I've had to deal with. Killer bees are around here, but I've (thankfully) not had any dealings with one.

    Cher - I tried thyme. It didn't like my garden. Though I've been thinking about trying them again. They are so pretty.

    Christina - Good luck with the morning glory battle. Why don't you suggest moonflowers to them? Same family, but not quite as invasive. At least not for me.

  9. A well-meaning neighbor planted this at our clubhouse (sounds much snootier than it really is) garden, which is severely neglected. I have been pulling it out for years - IT LIVES FOREVER . . . . I hate this plant.

  10. Cynthia - I would hate to have that job. Have you tried a blow torch? ;)

  11. Hahaha, I just posted about EVIL asian jasmine, as we call it at our house. Of course I have been pulling about 20 years worth out of beds where it ate every plant it encountered. I do like it when it's confined and tame, but really, not much of a fan. LOL, it is also apparently very good at hiding stinky kitties (aka skunks), thus the instigation for the post haste war against it! Really enjoying your blog!

  12. Erin - Thanks for commenting! It can certainly seem evil, especially if you are trying to get rid of it! I've seen it consume entire landscapes, and that is not pretty. Thankfully we don't have skunks here! Yikes!

  13. I pretty much have nothing good to say about Asian Jasmine. I do the landscape maintenance at my church, and last year a landscape plan was developed (by someone else) around a new building that we built. There were OCEANS of Asaian Jasmine in the landscape plan. I about had a heart attack when I saw the plan and asked if I could have the opportunity to resubmit a plan with different plant choices. Thankfully, the city allowed the changes and we moved forward. I did not want to have Asian Jasmine within 1,000 feet of the property, let alone 2500 some odd plants to have to deal with on a weekly basis. It rates right up there with Bermuda grass and Mexican Petunia and Trumpet Vine and Wisteria...oh, and Bamboo. Great post!

  14. Toni - your comments made me laugh. You understand Asian Jasmine completely! I would love to know what plants you substituted for Asian Jasmine for your church's landscape. Good going for you! By the way, I plan on having a post about bamboo in the future. Thanks for commenting.


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